We have a roadmap out of lockdown – and while we’ve been warned the timetable is not set in stone (“data not dates”, as Boris would say) an end is finally in sight.
If things go to plan, restrictions on social gatherings could be scrapped completely by the summer solstice on June 21. It may feel like a long way off, but there’s lots to look forward to before then, some of which you may have missed in the prime minister’s address to the nation.
Here are just 19 of the little (but actually pretty life-changing) things we’re looking forward to over the next few months. They probably won’t all be your bag, but we hope at least something in the list will bring you some hope for what’s to come.
1. Sweet, sweet silence
Some people are craving a party, the parents among us are pumped for some peace and quiet. They’ll get it on March 8 when the kids (finally) go back to school.
2. Holding hands with grandma
After months without proper contact, care home residents will be able to have one permitted visitor who’ll be allowed to come into the home and hold hands. No, you’re crying.
3. The best damn coffee we’ve ever tasted
On March 8, you’ll be able to meet a friend outside for socialising, rather than just exercising, meaning a coffee or picnic without fear of a whopping fine is now back on the cards. We will be sitting out, whatever the weather.
4. Burgers for Easter
We have never been so excited to eat burnt sausages under an umbrella. From March 29, outdoor meetings will be extended to the rule of six, or two households even if you exceed six people in total. You’re allowed to go to other people’s gardens, so we all know what that means: order your new BBQ (and raincoat) for Easter weekend now.
5. Serving a tennis ball
See also: teeing off on a golf course or shooting through a basketball hoop. Outdoor sports should be permitted again from March 29 – and it’s enough to make even the most sport-averse want to pick up a racket.
6. Kissing goodbye to split ends
Hairdressers are expected to reopen no earlier than April 12, but when they do we’ll be going to town on a restyle, ready to be released back into society. We’re also getting our “oooh new haircut” noise ready for when the men stop looking like 1980s Princess Diana.
7. That first proper pint
Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors from April 12 – and this time, the government has scrapped the “scotch egg” rule. There will be no need to order a substantial meal with alcohol and no curfew, so prepare to stagger home at closing time instead.
8. Watching the sun set at a drive-in cinema
Something you may have missed in the hubbub about pubs: drive-in cinemas, zoos, theme parks and other outdoor entertainment will hopefully reopen on April 12. What will we do with so many new options? Birthday down the animal enclosure, eh.
9. Browsing the rails for new clothes
April 12 also marks the day non-essential retail will reopen and if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that shopping is about far more than the end product. Buying clothes online just isn’t the same – we’re ready to see the material up close, chat to our favourite boutique owners and (eventually) visit a fitting room or two. If we never have to return a parcel at the post office again, it’ll be too soon.
10. Visiting a library
Another gem hidden in the roadmap, libraries will reopen from April 12 – and we can’t believe more people aren’t talking about it. Get ready to top up your reading collection for free and make the most of this community space we’ll never take for granted again.
11. A break from the same four walls
Sweet relief! A change of scenery. Get ready to book an AirBnB for the week commencing April 12 when self-contained accommodation is allowed once more. Can’t take time off? A WFH (work from holiday) is highly recommended.
12. Plunging into a deep pool
Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen from April 12, and although you’ll have to enjoy them solo (rather than meeting a mate for a dip), we can’t wait to dive in at the deep end.
13. Giving actors a standing ovation
Oh how we’ve missed the arts! If the plan stays on track, outdoor theatre will be back on from May 17. Meanwhile larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will also be permitted.
14. Seeing our favourite fitness instructors again
Online classes have kept us going, but bring on the community spirit of a dance/yoga/spin class with our favourite teacher, when group exercise classes resume from May 17.
15. Drinks before the football
In the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower). The numbers seem boggling right now, but it means we could see off the Premier League in the stands by May 17 and even grab a pint beforehand, as it’s hoped pubs will resume indoor service on this date too.
16. A fancy meal you’ve not cooked
We’re already planning our first blow-out meal inside a restaurant, which looks set to be allowed from May 17 onwards. Three courses or it doesn’t count.
17. Watching your BFF say ‘I do’
Weddings of 30 people should hopefully be back from May 17, with guest numbers unlimited just over a month later. It’ll be a long time coming for the thousands of couples (and their suppliers) who’ve been waiting for the green light since 2020.
18. Getting lucky
Daft Punk may now have called it a day, but plenty of single people are waiting for that all important government green light to get their sex lives back on the road. This might come, ahem, on May 17, or we could be waiting till June, depending on who you ask. Either way, the end of the Boris-backed ban on casual hookups is in sight. So let’s raise the bar. Talking of which...
19. The house party of the decade
All legal limits on social contact will hopefully be removed from June 21. There’s been a lot of talk about nightclubs reopening from this date, and while we love a boogie, we’ve personally got our hearts set on a house party, where the best chats happen in the kitchen and there’s no queue for the bar.
Bring it on.